In the summer of 1872 two young Norwegian girls arrived in the quiet, historic hamlet of Concord Massachusetts to take positions as domestic servants. Over the years many more men and women arrived, becoming domestic servants and farm laborers. The wife of a farmer who employed Norwegians took an interest in their spiritual welfare, learned their language and began teaching a Norwegian Sunday School class in 1879. From these humble beginnings a new church was born in 1893, hosted by the Trinitarian Congregational Church as its Scandinavian Branch. In 1920 they dedicated their own building and became the Norwegian Zion Free Church of Concord. In 1975 they erected a new building in nearby Acton and worship today under the name Faith Evangelical Free Church.
This account was created in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the church’s founding as an independent congregation. It chronicles the experiences of these immigrants as they sought to be exemplary American citizens, while celebrating their Norwegian heritage and recognizing that their true citizenship was in heaven, not on earth. The first part describes the events and people who gave so much in service to their community and congregation. The second part acknowledges the many people and organizations that helped bring their dreams to fruition. The third part takes and unflinching look at the church through the years to draw lessons for the future from the successes and missteps of the past.